It’s now a matter of when, not if the Toronto Blue Jays will be playing home games on natural grass.
Keith Pelley, president of Rogers Media, joined Prime Time Sports on Tuesday where he addressed the company’s future plans for the Rogers Centre.
"If we decide to put natural grass in the Rogers Centre, our plan would be to give the (Toronto) Argonauts ample warning and time to find another location," Pelley told PTS. "There is no question you’ve seen the commitment we’ve made to the Toronto Blue Jays and I think every player would want natural grass in the (Rogers Centre). Long term, we’ll have to find a way to put grass in there."
While Pelley says he doesn’t want to leave the Argonauts out to dry, he knows the Blue Jays will be better off down the road if they can get rid of the current AstroTurf playing surface.
"We don’t want to do anything to hurt the Canadian FootbalL League but they know at some point we have to now look at grass," Pelley said. "We’ve invested a tremendous amount in the Jays that will continue for the next five years. We want to be in the playoffs and bringing in grass will be another positive to bring people here."
Blue Jays president Paul Beeston has stated in the past that if the Rogers Centre added grass, it would need to become a baseball-only facility from April through October, meaning the Argonauts would need to find a new place to play their home games.
Pelley understands the value of adding grass but indicated that there is no timetable for the changes.
"Im a fan of the CFL — we’ve had this conversation and we don’t want to do anything that’s detrimental," he explained. "There are conversations that are ongoing. Nothing is locked into stone but a conversation that’s going on right now…2014 might be a little bit difficult. 2015 depends on what happens with the Pan American Games and what the discussion is with the CFL. That would be a possibility."
If the Blue Jays decided to make changes to the Rogers Centre field, it would not impact the new five-year Rogers’ Bills in Toronto series as those games could be played after the baseball season ends.